VTB waved to Hals

The developer will cease to exist.
One of the oldest companies is leaving the real estate market - Hals Development, which at that time was actually the first in the industry to enter the stock exchange and survived the most difficult crisis for developers in 2008-2009. Its owner, VTB Group, finally decided to deposit all the developer’s assets into two mutual funds. Thus, the bank hopes it will be possible to implement a strategy to exit non-core businesses. According to Kommersant's information, the next company, which awaits the fate of Hals, is VTB Arena, which is also involved in the development of the territory around the renewed Dynamo stadium.

The fact that VTB decided to transform the business of Hals Development was reported to Kommersant in the press service of the bank. In fact, this is an official confirmation of information previously voiced by Kommersant about the bank’s desire to get rid of Hals’s illiquid assets, generating debt of about 30 billion rubles. (see Kommersant, February 27). Then it was about creating a fund for commercial real estate - in particular, the Kamelia Hotel, which Hals was building in Sochi for the 2014 Olympic Games, and the Nevskaya Town Hall office center in St. Petersburg. In 2018, the total revenue of these assets amounted to 1.2 billion rubles. Hotel facilities are indeed planned to be transferred to the Long-Term Investment Investment Investment Fund, VTB said on Thursday.

But now the state bank decided to do the same with residential and commercial complexes, including Sky Light, "TsDM on Lubyanka", "Iskra-Park", "Gardens of Beijing". They are planned to be transferred to the new closed-end mutual investment fund Development Assets, which should be created before the end of this spring and transferred to the management of VTB Capital Asset Management. The whole process of transferring all Hals assets to funds should be completed by the end of 2020, VTB estimates.

In fact, by the beginning of summer, Hals as a development company will leave the market. The management team will transfer to the management company, and the brand of the company will continue, assured at the state bank. The decision to transform the development business was made as part of the implementation of VTB’s strategy to exit non-core assets. At the same time, VTB, as they say, has long been developing closed-end investment funds, through the sale of shares, such funds will be able to raise funds for the construction of new facilities.

Hals Development was originally called Sistema Hals and was created in 1994 by co-owner of AFK Sistema Vladimir Yevtushenkov. In 2006, it became the first Russian development company to conduct an IPO, and after almost ten years announced delisting. In the crisis of 2008-2009, when many construction companies collapsed, the developer came under the control of its main lender, VTB. In 2011, the company became known as Hals Development.

If in 2009 the debt of Hals to VTB amounted to about 22 billion rubles, then the latest statements of the company dated the end of September 2019 indicate the amount of long-term liabilities to banks in the amount of 80.5 billion rubles. All the developer’s assets that will be transferred to closed-end mutual investment funds are profitable, the bank says. They said that in 2016-2018, consolidated revenue under IFRS amounted to 152 billion rubles., Loans repaid by 48 billion rubles.

It is possible that under the Hals scheme, the business of another state bank subsidiary, VTB Arena, will be reformed, a source familiar with the situation told Kommersant. This company was engaged in the reconstruction of the stadium of the same name (formerly Dynamo) in the north of Moscow. There, near Petrovsky Park, the company built a hotel and residential complexes. On the market, it is also believed that VTB controls the business of one of Moscow’s largest housing developers, Don Stroy Invest. Whether the assets of this company will be included in closed-end mutual investment funds is not yet known. VTB says that they are only a financial partner of the company.

A closed-end investment investment fund with qualified investors allows you to quickly attract external partners for the implementation of the project, agrees the partner of NEO Center Alexey Volostnov. But now it will be difficult to attract investors, the market situation is not the same, warns investment director of Trinfico Artem Tsogoev.